Extant research has documented that the relationship between the chief information officer and the management team (TMT) has been troubled. An often cited contributing factor to this has been the gap in understanding between the CIO and the TMT. The objective of this study is to examine the development of shared mental models (SMMs) between the CIO and TMT about the role of information systems in the organization. A SMM is conceptualized as a multidimensional construct spanning the dimensions of shared language and shared understanding. The study posits that knowledge exchange mechanisms and relational similarity between the CIO and TMT are key antecedents to the development of SMMs. SMMs between the CIO and TMT are expected to guide the strategic orientation of the organization and may influence strategic alignment and organizational outcomes. The model was tested via a field survey of 382 CIOs using structural equation modeling. Results show that relational similarity and formal mechanisms of knowledge exchange (e.g., formal CIO membership in the TMT, CIO hierarchical level, and formal educational mechanisms by the CIO) are important to the development of SMMs. Contrary to expectations, social informal mechanisms of knowledge exchange and physical proximity were not significantly related to SMMs. Given the undeniable importance of developing a shared view of the role of IS in the organization by senior executives, such research has important theoretical and practical implications.
Preston, David, "Mechanisms for the Development of Shared Mental Models between the CIO and the Top Management Team" (2004). ICIS 2004 Proceedings. 37.